Do not drag armed forces in political discourse, Arun Jaitley tells Congress

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New Delhi | Published: December 21, 2018 10:19:35 PM

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Friday advised the Congress party to become "mature" and not to drag armed forces in political discourse.

Arun Jaitley, Congress party, B S Dhanoa, M Veerappa Moily, Rafale deal, Dassault Aviation, Rafale fighter jets“Having shortlisted, both in terms of its potential and costing, Rafale as the most appropriate aircraft with weaponry in 2012, the Congress leaders’ comments against it now lack credibility,” Jaitley said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Friday advised the Congress party to become “mature” and not to drag armed forces in political discourse. Jaitley’s anguish follows comments of senior Congress leader and former Union minister M Veerappa Moily who Thursday accused Indian Air Force chief B S Dhanoa of “lying” a day after the latter called the Rafale deal a “game changer” and the Supreme Court verdict on it a “very fine” judgement.

“After having ruled this country for decades, the grand old Party needs to mature,” Jaitley wrote in a blog — ‘Why drag the Air Force into political debate?’ The Finance Minister said that the Congress spokespersons are criticising the Chief of the Indian Air Force for having stated that the Air Force urgently needs the Rafale to improve its combat ability.

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“It is the Indian Air Force and its Chief who are the most competent persons to comment on it,” said the senior BJP leader. The Air Force was involved in the selection of Rafale when UPA was in power, as also when the NDA is in power, he said and added the aircraft with its weaponry is needed to maintain the combat ability of our forces.

“Having shortlisted, both in terms of its potential and costing, Rafale as the most appropriate aircraft with weaponry in 2012, the Congress leaders’ comments against it now lack credibility,” Jaitley said. Additionally, by “targeting” the Chief of a Service in a political debate, the Congress Party has broken a long-standing unwritten rule of Indian politics, he said. “We keep our forces out of political discourse. Our military is a professional one and subject to a civilian authority. “Unlike our western neighbour, it is non-political and non-partisan. We owe it to our armed forces the gratitude of having successfully defended this nation,” said the senior minister in the NDA government.

Moily had said the IAF chief along with the head of Dassault Aviation, the manufacturers of Rafale fighter jets, had visited public sector HAL’s Bengaluru headquarters days before the Paris agreement and found it a “competent body with necessary expertise”.

“Today, to say it is fine (the SC judgement)…I think that IAF chief is not fine….he is not fine, he is lying. He is suppressing the truth. He is a party to suppressing the truth,” Moily told reporters here. Later, talking to a TV news channel, Moily said, “Apology has to be given by Narendra Modi for having sacrificed the security of the nation, having sacrificed the exchequer.”

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